Cooking Up Gratitude: Our Chefs’ Thanksgiving Recipes and Traditions

As we enter the holiday season, we’re feeling thank-full and highlighting some of the ways our chefs celebrate Thanksgiving with sustainability and community at heart.

Published on: November 15, 2022

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Chef Ginger in 1 Hotel West Hollywood Garden

Across all of our properties, we view food as a unique tool and tradition that helps us connect with and explore the world around us. From the native ingredients to the local farmers and purveyors who grow and distribute them, food allows us to take a glimpse into the world that’s flourishing beyond our view.

In celebration of this special holiday, we sat down with Chefs Jonathan Waxman and Ginger Pierce, exploring their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, sustainable cooking tips, delicious recipes, and ways to give back to the community amid all the celebrations.

We hope these conversations generate nostalgia and inspire you to focus on sustainability and philanthropy throughout the holiday season—from cooking to shopping and everything in between.
 

Thanksgiving Traditions with Chef Jonathan Waxman, Executive Chef at Jams at 1 Hotel Central Park

Chef Jonathan Waxman

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
The best family time of the year. We normally spend time with a large nuclear family (about 40 people). We all cook for hours and then sit down at dusk. It is a very festive and restorative time. Everyone is asked to give thanks anonymously, and the answers are read out loud at the very long dinner table.

Holiday meals are notorious for resulting in a lot of food waste. Can you share any tips for shopping and preparing holiday meals as sustainably as possible?
The most important thing is to plan well in advance. If there are 10 people, one turkey is probably enough, but if you want leftovers, then two. Side dishes need not be too big, but they should have good seasonal intent. I love leftovers, so the carcass is a great source of a soup base. The leftover mashed potatoes can be combined with the sweet potatoes and they in turn make the cover for my turkey shepherd's pie. So really waste, if well planned, is very minimal.

Can you talk to us about what Jams is doing to give back to the community during Thanksgiving?
Jams has always supported all the folks that support us throughout the year; our wonderful small farms, ranches, fisherman and purveyors. These folks provide the bounty we serve. By buying from them consistently, we are helping to support what is really a very large network of food-related businesses that employ and financially support many families. This gives us great pleasure.

Can you share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe?

Swiss Chard, Peanuts, Turnips and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients
2 ounces olive oil
3 ounces + 3 ounces butter
2 onions, peeled, and sliced)
1 head of garlic (roasted in a aluminum pack for 45 minutes- squeeze out one TB of garlic puree)
1 large bunch Swiss Chard (washed, stemmed and chopped)
2 bunches baby turnips
2 TB minced Fresno chilies
1 cup Virginia peanuts (roasted and crushed)

Instructions
1. In a heavy saucepan, add the olive oil and butter. Cook the onions for 5 minutes on medium.
2. Add the Swiss chard and stir-cook for 30 minutes.
3. Add 1/2 cup cold water, and bring to a boil, add the turnips. Let simmer for 5 minutes covered.
4. Add 3 ounces butter.
5. Simmer for 3 minutes and then add minced Fresno chilies, garlic and peanuts. Taste for seasoning.
6. Serve hot, warm or room temp.

Thanksgiving Traditions with Chef Ginger Pierce, Executive Chef at 1 Hotel West Hollywood

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
I almost always work on Thanksgiving, as is the life of a chef, but we do have a family tradition. I start the day with my work family, but my kids typically come to visit me at work and enjoy a more classic Thanksgiving snack while I am working. Once I can peel myself away from the restaurant, we actually do Peking-style duck at home with steamed buns and assorted side dishes. After cooking so much turkey at the hotel, this meal is a welcome alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving meal. I am grateful, my husband usually takes charge of this meal and I get to sit back and enjoy after a long day of work!

Holiday meals are notorious for resulting in a lot of food waste. Can you share any tips for shopping and preparing holiday meals as sustainably as possible?
It can be really hard to not over-shop during the holidays. Try to make a menu and a good shopping list, and try editing it more than once. Think through complete or alternative uses for anything you buy. Many vegetables have usable peels or tops that often get discarded or wasted. The greens can be sauteed. Many vegetables can be scrubbed rather than peeled, and the skin of veggies often hold great nutrient value. If you have to bulk buy, do this for non-perishables, not produce. When it comes to leftovers, if you can think of nothing else, make soup and freeze it! RIbollita or minestrone are my fave leftover ingredient soups!

Can you talk to us about how 1 Kitchen is giving back for holiday and which organization we’ve partnered with?
We have paired up with the Los Angeles Mission, which serves those in need in Downtown Los Angeles. We are running a special sandwich for two weeks called the “Give Thanks” Sandwich, and all proceeds go to the LA Mission. We will also be preparing and serving 300 meals during Thanksgiving week for the Mission. Additionally, we have a canned food drive going on that we will deliver to the Mission at the end of the month. More than just meals, the LA Mission provides amazing social services to those experiencing homelessness in the city.

Can you share a favorite Thanksgiving recipe?
Biscuits are a family tradition for me.  My husband is from south Georgia and he and his mom both make glorious biscuits.  They go great with a thanksgiving meal instead of rolls or they can also be a morning after breakfast paired with left over cranberry sauce or turkey gravy.
 
So delicious!

Biscuits
Yields 10 medium biscuits (3-inch diameter)

Ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra flour for dusting)
1.5 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 lb cold butter cut into small cubes
1.5 cups buttermilk (plus extra for brushing)

Instructions
1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Mix in the butter by hand until the butter is fully coated in flour and in pebble-sized pieces.
3. Slowly mix in the buttermilk until the dough comes together (the dough will be a little shaggy, but don’t over-mix).
4. Move the dough onto a floured work surface.
5. Press the dough down flat and fold the sides in a letter and press down again (repeat this step two more times).
6. Press down the dough to about an inch and a half thick.
7. Punch out the discs with a well-floured cookie cutter and place on parchment on a metal sheet tray.
8. Brush with buttermilk and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown.

To minimize the use of plastic in your own life, look around your home and work to identify plastic items. From there, seek to find alternatives.